Nicole Alston learned a lesson when she lost her husband suddenly in January.
“There’s so many things that we think about and we worry about and we fuss over and we fight over with our loved ones — especially our spouses,” she said. “I’m telling you none of that is important. Cause when they’re gone, they’re gone.”
Alston’s husband, Capitol Police Officer Vernon J. Alston,
died on Jan. 23
, when he collapsed in the garage of their home in Delaware after shoveling snow at a neighbor’s house during the blizzard that hit the mid-Atlantic.
Alston, 44, had worked for the department since 1996 and had most recently been assigned to the House division.
In a meeting on Thursday that was somber but punctuated with laughter and cheerful memories, Nicole Alston was presented with a Congressional Record statement by Delaware Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper, who framed remarks he gave on the Senate floor shortly after her husband’s death.
The statement was given on behalf of the state’s three-member congressional delegation.
At times wiping her tears with a shawl, Nicole Alston expressed gratitude for the support she has received from Carper, his office and from the Capitol Police.
The meeting in Carper’s Senate office also included two of her teenage daughters, five friends of her late husband, police officers and Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa.
Alston credited divine intervention for helping her through the past few weeks.
She said after her husband collapsed, she asked God, “What is this?”
“He’s with me,” she said was the response she heard.
Carper said the gift reflected Vernon Alston’s effort to help a neighbor. It was another chance to give back.
“You are a neighbor,” Carper said. “Just like your husband who literally died trying to help a neighbor, we want to make sure that his sacrifice does not go forgotten.”
Verderosa, too, offered a hand, saying his department would “step up” to be there for her and her children whenever she was feeling down.
“Vernon was a gift to me,” Alston said. “I was a gift to him and fortunately we did love each other the hardest we could.”